Keep The Third Doctor Stories Coming

“The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Four” has two full cast audio dramas with Tim Treloar standing in for the late Jon Pertwee in this release from Big Finish Productions. Katy Manning once again reprises her role of Jo Grant.  Both stories bring back two well-known adversaries of the Doctor.

“The Rise of the New Humans”, written by Guy Adams, has the Doctor encounter fellow renegade Time Lord known as the Meddling Monk. Rufus Hound once again performs his version of the Monk, which was originally brought to the screen by the late Peter Butterworth.  The Monk has appeared in a few of these Big Finish audio plays in recent years.  An attempt to cure various ailments in humans also has the unfortunate effect of bring about some troubling mutations.  The story was fairly entertaining, although there are times that Hound’s performance grated on my nerves a bit.  Once again, the performance of the leads and probably nostalgia for the Third Doctor era is what makes this story work generally. I am just not sure I can get enthusiastic about Hound’s interpretation of the Monk.  Treloar’s rendition of Jon Pertwee is still effective enough to imagine the familiar craggy face and white hair.  Manning may not sound exactly like he did forty-five years ago, but she gets close enough for the age in her voice to not be a distraction from my enjoyment.  I hope she has several more of these plays left in her since the other two female assistants have died.  She is still a strong performer in spite of the clumsiness and absent-mindedness she admits to.  May she continue to be well.  Anyway, this particular adventure is fine.  Nothing really wowed me, but it didn’t annoy me much either.

I preferred the second story because it finally has the Third Doctor have a proper confrontation with the Cybermen, my favorite of Doctor Who villains. “The Tyrants of Logic” is written by Marc Platt and has the Doctor and Jo arrive on an abandoned mining colony on a planet with the distinctive designation of Burnt Salt. I think I have a more favorable bias toward this story since it does feature the Cybermen, but even they can be overused at times. Platt takes a moment to explore the deep trust and bond that is so prominent between the Doctor and Jo, and he handles it well. Nicholas Briggs once again fires up the voice modulator to perform as the Cybermen and does well, but he usually come through without any problem.  I like listening to Briggs in interview because he knows so much about the history of the program and his enthusiasm is infectious.  There are some pretty bizarre characters and situations, but Platt makes it work in the writing. The performances were engaging so I didn’t mind that I could not quite envision how a guy has various musical instruments or tones built into him.

I don’t know if either stories are going down as classics, but the overall output had some fun ideas.  The performances are good. I can so easily believe the accounts of how hard Treloar works to put forth an accurate and affectionate impression of Jon Pertwee. I can easily believe how much Manning loved her time on the television program and with Pertwee.  Even if there are some aspects about this range that don’t always work, I loved the Third Doctor and hope further efforts to represent that era will continue.

 

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